Fine Gael TD for Galway West & Mayo South

Landmark legislation standardises tobacco packaging in move to protect citizens

Ireland has become only the second country in the world to pass legislation standardising the packaging allowed for tobacco products.

On Tuesday, 3rd March, the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill passed all stages in the Oireachtas. With the passing of the legislation, our country became only the second country in the world – and the first in Europe – to pass standardised packaging legislation through its Parliament.

The standardised packaging will remove all tobacco industry marketing from cigarette packets.

Research from Australia shows that when smoking cigarettes from a plain pack, smokers are:

  • 81% more likely to have thought about quitting at least once a day
  • and rate quitting as a higher priority in their lives
  • 70% are more likely to say they found them less satisfying
  • 66% more likely to think their cigarettes are of poorer quality.

The legislation includes several provisions which will through standardised packaging remove all tobacco industry marketing from cigarette packets.

  • The brand will be printed on the packet in a standardised font and colour
  • The size of the warning will be doubled on the front of the packet (to 65% of the packet) and it will feature a graphic picture warning – at present a picture warning is only featured on the back of the packet
  • There will be a legal minimum size for cigarette packets
  • Slim packets that resemble lipstick packets will no longer be legal.

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly has guided this legislation through the Oireachtas and has pledged to fight any challenges to it.

I commend Minister Reilly’s commitment and dedication on this issue. Minister Reilly noted that the interests of public health will be served when children decide never to take up smoking in the first place and if smokers are persuaded to quit.

5,200 people die from smoking related deaths in Ireland every year – that is almost one in five deaths.

We should be proud that our country is leading the way in Europe and beyond in tackling such a major public heath threat.